From letting go to finding your balance, yoga guru and life coach Claire Beeley helps you transition smoothly into the new season.
I don’t know about you, but there’s something about autumn that makes me feel like a fresh start. I suppose it’s that back-to-school feeling that you don’t shake off even when you’re *cough* fortysomething. But before I decided to go all ‘out with old, in with the new’, I checked in with Chalford-based seasonal yoga teacher and life coach Claire Beeley who always has wise thoughts on how to transition the seasons.
Reign in your summer self
The fiery energy of summer can be hard to let go of, but if you don’t you’ll soon find yourself burning up with nervous energy. Just as the sap in the trees retreats into the earth, at this time of year you need to start drawing yourself in and conserving your energy levels for the winter ahead. There’s a comfort in this – the autumn is the start of the yin cycle of the year and if the yang cycle (which starts in spring) is a breath in, autumn is the beginning of a breath out, so relax, let go and think about getting cosy for the winter ahead.
Let go of what you don’t need
Letting go is a big theme for autumn. Like trees shedding their leaves, it’s a good time to release things we don’t need any more and make space for the new to emerge in spring. An autumn declutter feels very satisfying, be it a literal one of your wardrobe, house, garage, or a psychological one. People often make big decisions at this time of year – leave a job, a partner, move house. Listen to your intuition – if your gut feeling is telling you to let go of something, it’s probably right.
Get your house in order
Once you’ve cleared out what you don’t need any more, it’s time to put things in order. Our ancestors would have been preserving food, mending roofs and chopping wood to get ready for the winter. Many people feel like taking up a new course of study, hobby, exercise regime or healthy eating plan in autumn. This is a natural desire to get yourself in a good place before the winter hits and you need to draw on your reserves of energy.
Find your balance
In summer you can afford to go to bed late, get up early, skip meals, overindulge, but in autumn your body craves routine and balance – earlier nights, later rises, regular meals. There’s a temptation to find your balance by going to extremes – after the eighth glass of wine I will fall over – and reigning in from there. Instead try going the other way and adding not subtracting – wipe the slate clean like an exclusion diet and then start with, say, one glass of wine/bar of chocolate/episode of Game Of Thrones and if that feels good, add another until you find your happy place.
Do a cleanse
This is an ideal time of year to do a cleanse. I always recommend Dr Stephan Domenig’s The Alkaline Cure, a clinically tested, 14-day plan that will enhance your health, as well as help you lose a few pounds and look younger. The diet is from the go-to detox destination of the rich and famous, the FX Mayr Health Centre in Austria, so is tried and tested, the science being that to be healthy, feeling good and functioning well, our pH reading should be either neutral or slightly alkaline, not acidic, which most of us who eat a western diet are. Once you’ve hit the right pH, eating seasonal food will keep you on track. Feast on grounding root vegetables, squashes, sauerkraut and a little bit of salty, sour pickle –I love umeboshi, Japanese pickled plums, which you can find in health food stores – just add a little to rice, a spread or salad dressing.
Indulge in stillness
Move your yoga practice down a gear for autumn and let yourself be still in poses. Remember, autumn is the start of the yin season, the out breath, so relax into that. Good autumn asanas include seated forward bend and downward dog. Also, just lie on your back holding your knees to your chest and focus on the out breath as you relax your abdomen – just let the breath out don’t push. This is a deeply grounding pose and chimes with the empty feeling of autumn which draws you into yourself. Of all the seasons, autumn is the most spiritual – it’s no coincidence that Halloween and All Souls Day fall at this time of year – so this is an ideal time of year to meditate. Let yourself be still and don’t resist being in the now.
Claire has been teaching yoga for over 17 years. She incorporates the ebb and flow of the seasons into her classes, bringing a deeper understanding of the holistic nature of yoga to those who practise with her, helping them to increase their energy and wellbeing, and find more harmony, clarity and peace in their lives.
She runs classes in Chalford and a new class in Gloucester on Tuesdays, 6.30-7.45pm, drop-in option available. See the timetable here. Autumn is ideal for starting yoga as it’s a balancing season and Claire is offering Muddy readers a free trial class, just call Claire on 07768 973167.